Having recently returned from another beautiful trip to the south, which included not only New Orleans but Houston and San Antonio, I was reminded of the pleasures of travel - from the feel of the finest linens against my skin to the comfort of a Tempur Pedic mattress, the shock of not having to cleanup my mess in the bathroom to room service (or at least the opportunity to call it) at 3 a.m.
However, by about three days into my trip I was longing for a few things I missed from, oh, the Motel 6s and Days Inns of the world. That is not the same as complaining. Far from it. New Orleans must have the most genteel, service-oriented hotel culture in the nation and one of the best in the world. No, this is more of a whining-because-I-feel-like-it, and because I actually think this might do some good. More five-star hotels should come onboard and offer the down-homey feel of the budget-friendly motels, hotels and B&Bs (minus the crazy cat lady at the front desk, risk of bed bugs and freaks next door whom you hear through paper-thin walls!)
So here are my top 10 tips for you luxury hotels ...
Ice is not overrated
Guests like ICE! We want to see an icemaker at least on every third floor. Don't make me call room service and then be required to tip your guy five bucks after I'm salivating with thirst.
Thermostats should be user-friendly
A smart thermostat (like the one above) is okay, but it must, for the love of God, be user-friendly. Please don't send three engineers to fix the problem five minutes after we've arrived sweaty and exhausted from Chicago.
Maids, concierges, etc. should not rap on our doors
Rapping is for rappers. We are on vacation. You also put your hotel staff in a very awkward position when you send them up to check and ensure everything is okay and/or if there is anything we need for the night. Yes, we do need something: to be left alone.
Valet parking should be optional
If you are a luxury brand, more than likely we will pay to park our cars. But just once it would be nice to hear someone say, "Ya know, around the corner you can park for free for a good 24 hours. No ticketing on Sundays!"
E-mailing us after our visit is not cool
The habit of sending out rote e-mails to cull info from us regarding our trips is a bad idea. If I love something, I will tell you. Today I wrote Amtrak to compliment a conductor on my train. When they emailed back to find out my reservation number, it was a big turn-off.
Enough with the over-scents
I obtained some beautiful, deliciously fragrant Moulton Brown and Kenneth, MD. products on my recent trip, but I would caution anyone who does not know what they are doing to go sparing on the scents. Windsor Court has it right with their 144 fragrant pink roses in the lobby. They are the exception.
I dream of the $3 hot dog
The reason people are excited to come home isn't because we miss the people at home - or in my case, cat - but because once again we can eat comfort food in our underwear. I will visit any five-star hotel that thinks to add a 3-dollar hot dog to its expensive menu.
Big Brother shouldn't be watching us everywhere
I love a good broken CCTV camera. And if the Motel 6 watches my every move, I am not aware of it. However, the police-like barrage of screens behind the hotel clerk's desk is terrifying. I just met you. Why should I trust you not to sell this footage to TMZ?